Using Grasses in Containers

Dress up your pots with eye-catching ornamental grasses.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Ball Horticultural

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Photo By: Image courtesy of Ball Horticultural

Photo By: Image courtesy of

Photo By: Image courtesy of

Photo By: Image courtesy of

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Photo By: Image courtesy of

Photo By: Image courtesy of

Photo By: Image courtesy of Ball Horticultural

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A Pair of Potted Grasses

Containers filled with ornamental grasses can easily take center stage in outdoor living areas. Count on grasses to offer textural beauty courtesy of colorful leaves. The left pot includes fiber optic grass (Isolepis cernua ‘Live Wire’) and ‘Blue Arrows’ rush (Juncus inflexus ‘Blue Arrows’). The right pot stars ‘Red Rooster’ carex (Carex buchananii ‘Red Rooster’), weeping brown sedge (Carex flagellifera ‘Bronzita’) and New Zealand wind grass (Anementhele lessoniana), sometimes known as buffalo’s gold.

Foliage Finery

Include grasses in hanging baskets for an unusual combination. Golden variegated hakone grass (Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’) creates a leafy waterfall in this moss-lined basket. Other foliage accompaniments include a red coral bells (Heuchera), Heucherella ‘Fire Frost’ and ‘Jack Frost’ Siberian bugloss (Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’).

Touch of Gold

Combine grasses with flowers for a sensory delight. ‘Red Riding Hood’ rose fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum ‘Red Riding Hood’) provides a backdrop for pineapple coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides) and Sundaze Flame (Bracteantha bracteata ‘Flobrafla’). The spillers in this pot are ‘Yellow Ripple’ English ivy (Hedera helix ‘Yellow Ripple’) and dense-flowered loosestrife (Lysimachia congestiflora ‘Walkabout Sunset’).

Make Room for Snow

Turn up the light in your part to full shade containers with the white leaves of ‘Snow Cap’ creeping broad-leaved sedge (Carex siderosticha ‘Snow Cap’). Leaves have broad white central stripes edged with bright green. Combine it with hosta or ferns for a container that oozes leafy charm.

Keep It Simple

Red shades sizzle paired with variegated feather reed grass (Calamagrostis acutiflora ‘Overdam’). Superbells Red Calibrachoa hybrid sparkles in this container that’s accented with pops of dark burgundy-purple from ‘Black Scallop’ bugleweed (Ajuga reptans ‘Black Scallop’).

Goofproof and Beautiful

Take the guesswork out of mixing grasses by choosing pots of Fuseables Twisted Dart Juncus. This item features two rush (Juncus) varieties planted in the same pot. The rushes are slender rush (Juncus tenuis) and corkscrew rush (Juncus effusus spiralis), which combine to create a textural tapestry.

Water Garden Wow

Water-tolerant grasses include rushes and some of the sedges. To duplicate this grassy pairing, plant Blue Mohawk soft rush (Juncus inflexus) with fiber optic grass (Isolepsis cernus). Floating water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) surrounds the grasses with a green ruffle.

Plant Living Sunshine

Bright lemon or banana yellow leaves make shady spots glow when you plant ‘Banana Boat’ creeping broad-leaved sedge (Carex siderosticha ‘Banana Boat’). Green-trimmed leaves provide a striking partner for burgundy or dark leaved plants.

Subtle Shadings

Play with leaf color like an artist by combining plants with tones that echo one another. Here, tall New Zealand flax (Phormium) picks up the hues in the coralbells (Heuchera), which glow like a fading ember of the electric gold sedge (Carex). The rich brick-red pot elevates—and complements—this beautiful trio perfectly.

Parade of Pots

Tall contemporary containers with sleek vertical lines shine when planted with a blend of upright grass and spiller plants. Vertigo purple fountain grass (Pennisetum purpureum ‘Tift 8’) provides a strong vertical complement to the pots. The skirt of trailing plants features fiber optic grass (Isolepsis cernus), Garnet Lace sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas) and White Russian Supertunia (Petunia Kerivoryvein’).

Urban Beauty

A galvanized trough paired with water-loving grasses gives any setting a modern vibe. The grasses here include King Tut Egyptian papyrus (Cyperus papyrus) and Baby Tut umbrella grass (Cyperus involucratus), accented with vertical bookend plantings of Blue Mohawk soft rush (Juncus inflexus). Trailing stems of fiber optic grass (Isolepsis cernus) soften trough edges.

Tiny and Lovely

Bring on the potted charm with cuter than cute ‘Burgundy Bunny’ miniature fountain grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Burgundy Bunny’). This adorable grass sprouts burgundy-blushed leaves topped with classic fuzzy flower heads. The plant turns—what else?—glowing burgundy in autumn.

Elegant Urn

Cascading grasses strut their stuff when tucked into a tall container, like this footed urn. A solitary ‘Sirocco’ feather reed grass (Stipa arundinacea) holds its own easily in a container. The green leaves sparkle in autumn and winter, offering shades of coppery-orange. Flowers form a pink haze in late summer, leading to another common name of gossamer grass.

Easy Grows It

Give your garden a dose of low maintenance beauty with a trio of graceful grasses. In this classic container design, purple fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum’) fills the thriller role, accompanied by filler ‘Toffee Twist’ sedge (Carex flagellifera ‘Toffee Twist’). A tuft of fiber optic grass (Isolepsis cernus) spills effortlessly over pot edges.

Happiness in a Pot

A simple pairing of flowers and grass yields a harvest of smiles all season long. Start with Mexican feather grass (Nassella tenuissima), add a burst of ‘Perky Pink’ butterfly flower (Gaura lindheimeri ‘Perky Pink’) and finish with a cascade of Superbena Pink Shades verbena (Verbena hybrid). This pot’s blossoms beckon butterflies.

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